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Tyler Bielamowicz’s blast walks it off for UH against No. 20 Texas



TX – Tyler Bielamowicz stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 11th Saturday, hitless in his first five plate appearances but with a chance to give Houston a win over No. 20 Texas.

The game could’ve been over by then. Both teams put runners in scoring position across multiple innings already, but the Cougars and Longhorns could only score two apiece.

With the game on the line, Bielamowicz didn’t leave a chance for there to be another stranded runner.

Rather than getting on base and hoping a teammate would drive him in, Bielamowicz smashed a walkoff home run over the left-field wall at Schroeder Park to give Houston (7-3) their biggest win of the season over Texas (6-5).

“It was huge,” Bielamowicz said of the homer. “We were all fighting, scratching the whole game just to just shoot for one (run) there, especially during the last inning.”

Blake Schultz earned the win for UH, throwing two innings of scoreless ball in relief. UT’s Aaron Nixon gave up the game-winner in the 11th to take the loss.

“I said before the weekend it’ll be like a heavyweight fight, and that’s exactly what it’s turned out to be, with two really good games with really good teams,” Houston coach Todd Whitting said. “I’m glad we got the win today. I’m proud of my kids because they played so hard for two days, and if we come out of that thing 0-2 somehow, it just breaks your heart for them.”

Saturday’s matchup was a lesson on how tough it can be to get runners across the plate.

Though not the pitchers’ duel we saw from Houston’s Robert Gasser and Texas’ Ty Madden on Friday, the staffs of both teams showed some of the same clutch pitching their No. 1 starters displayed the night before.

The Longhorns put a man on base in every inning but two and the Cougars did the same in seven innings themselves, but each time, both teams’ pitchers executed to get the out. Even in the innings where the teams managed to get a run across the board, pitchers stranded the rest of the runners for 25 combined left on base.

“You can try to hit those sliders they’re throwing at us if you want,” Whitting said. “Those are all, you can see anybody that was out on the field pitch in the big leagues one day.”

Houston got two hits and their first run of the weekend in the bottom of the second, but once Texas’ Tristan Stevens settled in, UH looked as helpless at the plate as they did Friday. The third, fourth and fifth were all three-up, three-down frames for Stevens.

In that time, UT managed to take the lead with a run in the fifth and a run in the sixth, both charged to Houston starter Ben Sears.

However, the Longhorns didn’t have Madden on the mound on the verge of throwing a two-hit shutout this time. It was going to be difficult to keep the Cougars down for long.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Samuel Benjamin hit a two-out double to get into scoring position. Texas brought Palmer Wenzel in relief, but his first pitch was smashed to the gap in right-center for a triple by Will Pendergrass, tying the game.

The teams once again struggled to hit runners in, leaving multiple on base over the last four innings.

That is, until Bielamowicz stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 11th. Tired of seeing runners get on base without making it home, Bielamowicz didn’t need a runner on base in order to walk it off for Houston.

The win sets up a winner-takes-all Game 3 at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

“Energy. Sunday is all about energy and going out and playing as hard and tough as possible,” Bielamowicz said. “The team that plays the toughest (Sunday) is going to end up taking the series.”